If you tinker with firearms long enough, you will accumulate spare guns and spare parts, so here’s a spare parts story: A few years ago I purchased a Savage 300 win mag specifically for a long range class I was taking.
During that class I experienced some feeding issues which led me to build up a different win mag on a Defiance action and the Savage went on Gunbroker. The squirrely uh… individual who purchased it was a nightmare to deal with, and as soon as he received it, he was claiming the barrel was shot-out (which it wasn’t… by the way) and threatening to post negative reviews, etc… Because I’m a good guy who values his reputation I agreed to take the rifle back and from there it eventually wound up in separate pieces, most of which found their way … Read More »
Ask almost any supposedly reputable source for training on the obscure body of knowledge that includes fieldcraft, stalking, hides, camouflage, in short: “sniper skills,” and the answer is almost always the same: “…but we don’t teach that stuff to civilians.” It’s probably best if I reserve further comment on that, other than to say that, like most rarified disciplines there is obviously more talk than authentic knowledge and finding a legitimate source willing to share that knowledge with the garden-variety armed citizen can be difficult, believe me – I’ve looked.
There are, of course, good reasons to be cautious with the dissemination of this information. Let’s face it, under current societal conditions in the United States there is no definitive defensive application for long range, shoot from cover, rifle skills, and these skills in the wrong hands can be very hazardous … Read More »
Well, a few months ago when I wrote the last article, I had a few tests I decided to run at our spring Precision Optics Workshop and the great folks who attended were all willing guinea pigs.
In the previous article, I postulated that the ability to accurately estimate the range to a target using a graduated scope reticle would be limited by the capabilities of the human eye, and that capability would be somewhere between 1 and 5 arc-minutes, but I didn’t exactly know where to set the bar. My best guess, given glass quality and atmospheric effects was about 2 arc minutes.
To test this, we played a little game with 10 participants. 5 “shooters” with optics greater than 20X and 5 “shooters” using optics less than 20X. The scopes used were a fairly representative sample of the common glass out … Read More »
I suppose it is in my nature to try and resolve certain observed phenomena down to the mathematical formulae that can reliably and logically explain them. This is surprising, given that I flunked Calculus 2 three times consecutively in college and eventually had to change majors because that dog just wasn’t going to hunt.
f(x)dx notwithstanding, I did eventually graduate and go on to work as a research and development chemist for one of the world’s largest producers of consumer products.
No one was more surprised than I when a sudden impulse arose in me at lunchtime today to calculate and chart the potential error in range estimates induced by the limits of visual acuity of both the reticle and the target. Let me restate that in simpler terms: I wanted to figure out just how screwed up reticle range estimates could get for someone with … Read More »
Some of mankind’s first applications of the principles of ergonomics were with weapons. It probably started with the smoother rock,and evolved into the club or spear that was easier to grip, to the more balanced sword, down through the ages until eventually we arrived at the blocky polymer grips of today’s popular autopistols. Rifle stocks also, through this process of evolution and engineering continuous improvements, have come to be a good general fit for the average shooter. “Good general fit,” however, has never appealed to the “precision” rifleman. Now, this peculiarity isn’t just about looking cool and basic comfort. The shooter’s physical control over the rifle is dependent on their interface with the action, barrel, optics, and stock or chassis.
When everyone was still having gunsmiths carve wooden stocks, the answer to optics was the Monte Carlo style raised comb, which … Read More »
The generally accepted measure of the mechanical precision of a firearm/ammo/optic combination along with the skill or consistency of the rifleman is the ability to shoot tight groups. Too much time shooting groups, however, can encourage an excessive reliance on precision rather than accuracy and the ability to hit a mark with the first shot. Also, ask yourself how many times you have seen articles showing tight groups 2 or 3 inches away from the bullseye? Those types of groups are useful to take a repeatable measure of a rifle’s performance, and a baseline for adjusting the sighting system, but unless we make the necessary adjustments to get the rifle accurately hitting point of aim=point of impact, all of that precision is wasted.
Off the square range, the rifleman doesn’t get to fire groups at a target, but has to rely on one well-aimed shot doing … Read More »
August 2016: back on the long road from Northwest Ohio to Southern Oregon for another pilgrimage to Thunder Ranch, this time for their Urban Precision Rifle class. This is my 8th time training with Clint and Co. It has been almost 3 years since my last visit, and it occurred to me while crossing the bridge on to the property that it has been far too long.
If you have spent almost any time training with firearms, you have heard of Thunder Ranch and you probably know that Clint has a well-deserved reputation as a living legend in firearms training. The facility is in a beautiful setting, meticulously maintained, and equipped with a plethora of challenging obstacles and targets. In short, it is a shooter’s Heaven.
I first trained at Thunder Ranch in March of 2007 when I made the fortunate decision … Read More »
By: Instructor Jeremy Decker
Precision rifle shots can be taken from a variety of field positions, however, it is widely accepted that shooting from prone offers the most stability, it’s also typically the first position used while learning scoped rifle-craft. What makes the prone position most stable is its low center of gravity and maximum contact with the ground for both the rifle, and the shooter. The most stable geometric shape is the triangle; therefore, the rifle is most stable when it has 3 solid points of contact with the ground. The front of a rifle supported by a bipod creates 2 of these points of contact. Stabilizing the rear of the rifle when shooting from the prone position can be accomplished in a number of ways; but is made much easier with a physical support of some kind, such as … Read More »
By: Instructor Michael Lake
So you need a scope for your precision rifle and there are just too many confusing options… let me take a few minutes to help you sort some of this out. There are a lot of other articles written by a lot of other people covering some of this stuff, albeit partially, so here’s my effort to put some of the information in one place:
Question 1: What do all the numbers mean?
Answer: The first number or set of numbers refers to optical power, which is measured in units of magnification that, in industry jargon, are referred to as “X.” A 4X scope magnifies the image 4 times. In other words, a 10 inch target viewed through a 4X optic would appear the same size as a 40 inch target at the same distance viewed with the naked eye. Fixed power scopes … Read More »
Hey boys and girls, you’ve had a few months to practice all of those techniques we talked about in Sinister Studies 1 through 6, and hopefully you’ve squared away your eye dominance as well like we discussed in Sinister Studies 7. This next installment isn’t going to address technique as much as it will be an equipment review.
My introduction to shooting was competitive riflery and despite my interest in other shooting disciplines, throughout the years I have always had a special connection with shooting at distance. Most of my competitive shooting was done with match-tuned M14’s and M1A’s, which can be excellent performers. When it comes to precision shooting however, there’s just no substitute for a scoped bolt gun. So in this installment, I would like to explore some options available for the left-handed rifle marksman.
A few years ago I signed up for some precision … Read More »